“Save us from weak resignation…”
Text: Micah 6: 8
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
This past week I had the opportunity to catch a movie; you may have heard of it or have seen it advertised, perhaps you have even seen the movie yourself. It is called “Hidden Figures” and I think it is one of the best films I have seen in quite a long time.
The film takes place during the early 1960’s at the very beginning of the space race with the Russians. JFK is president and it is before many of the sweeping reforms brought about by the Civil Rights Act, signed by president LBJ in 1964. The film is about 3 different African American women who work for NASA and the contributions they brought to our space program in spite of the barriers that had been set before them.
In a time when I was feeling a bit troubled about the possible direction of our country, it was helpful to see an accurate depiction of how far we have come. The women in this movie faced almost unbelievable obstacles and discrimination as they worked and did their best in service to their country. It was a good reminder of what we have accomplished in the area of civil rights not to mention computers, space travel, electronics, communication and a host of other advancements that can be traced back to the space program.
It also depicted an era when Dr. Martin Luther King was just beginning to get noticed and the civil rights movement was just gaining a head of steam. As we now celebrate a national holiday in honor of Dr. King tomorrow, that in and of itself is another indication of how far we have come. In a few days we will also witness the peaceful transfer of power from our first African American president to the next one.
I can’t imagine how hopeless the struggle must have seemed in the early 1960’s for Dr. King. How challenging for Martin Luther King it must have been to take on a society and culture steeped in racism and discrimination and segregation. How discouraging it must have been. Instances of police brutality at demonstrations and marches, the intimidation of the show of force with weapons and horses and night sticks; how easy it would be to just stay home. How easy it would be to say we will never win, there will never be any progress.
Of all the quotes and all the things people remember about Martin Luther King, Jr I think the one thing that stands out above all others is that Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream. And he wasn’t afraid to dream and he wasn’t afraid to share his dream. “I have a dream” he would say.
If we are going to honor Dr. King, the best way I can think of to honor this great leader is to follow his example and dream again. We should always be dreaming and we should always dream big.
I have a dream for Lewiston First United Methodist. I have a dream that one day soon the stacks of extra blue chairs in the basement will be needed again on Sunday mornings. I have a dream that one service on Sunday will no longer meet the needs of all the people and we will have services on Saturday night and two or three on Sunday mornings. I have a dream that our social media outreach explodes and we reach thousands every day with posts of meetings and events and ministry opportunities.
I have a dream that our vacant land will no longer sit idle, but it will spring to life. I have a dream of community gardens and growing our own pumpkins, I dream of playgrounds for the Montessori school and skate parks for the teenagers. I have a dream that the ministries of Lewiston First will impact the very fabric of our valley; that we will be feeding the hungry and helping the poor, we will be providing job assistance and career guidance, we will be working for the homeless and the hopeless. We will be the city of light shining on the hill. I have a dream that when an issue of social justice shows up in our community, that we show up as well. I have a dream that as a church we will transform and invigorate our community and beyond. I have a dream that we will expand our work with the Salvation Army, Family Promise, Circles and the YWCA and beyond.
I have a dream that we will connect with the faculty and students of LCSC and word will get around that if you like to think, if you like to be challenged, this is the place to be. I have a dream that we will need a staff to coordinate all that is happening and all that is going on. I have a dream of multiple ministers and working with kids and in education and outreach. I have a dream that when someone gets sick or has surgery that their mailbox is full of cards; their refrigerators are full of soup and casseroles that every day they see someone new or receive a phone call wishing them well. I have a dream of a parking lot filled to capacity and I have a dream that someday we will hear about getting to church early so you have a place to park or a place to sit.
I have a dream that the messages of tolerance and compassion, the messages of social justice and progressive Christianity will be broadcast throughout this valley via social media and our web site. I have a dream that those messages will fall on hungry ears and we will help countless others strengthen their personal spirituality and strengthen their connection to the Divine.
I have a dream that we can ransom Jesus who has been kidnapped and held hostage by the religious right and once again we can define following Jesus as a life of love and light and leadership rather than a life of judgment and self-righteousness.
I have a dream that as a member of Lewiston First, things will be so exciting and so exhilarating that you will not be able to contain yourself so that everywhere you go and everyone you meet will need to hear about the transformative things happening at your church.
I have a dream that our building will be in use during the week for community events and our community connections will be stronger than ever. I have a dream that church leaders from all over the conference will want to come and see what we have done. They will ask us what we did and how we did it; and we will tell them that we had a dream and we dared to dream big.
The movie that I told you about earlier played a familiar news clip when President John F Kennedy announced to world that we would go to the moon by the end of that decade. He went on to say that we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard.
I would lay the same challenge before you; we choose to dream big, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. We will need every single person to dig deep and to show up, to pray hard and talk to your friends. We will need every person to find their place and find a way to contribute what you have to offer.
Yes, I have a dream. But I can’t be the only one. You need to dream with me. We need to dream together. And we need to dream big.
Food for dreaming. Amen.